Sailing, gliding, diving, hiking, climbing and, of course, camping – just some of the fun activities the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts of 1st Littleport Scout Group have been up to in the past 12 months.
Add to this baking, acting, sleepovers, dementia-awareness raising, and community activities such as the Remembrance Day parade, litter picking and delivering Littleport Life, and you’ll see why so many of Littleport’s young people want to join.
Back in 2016, the waiting list for the youngest section – Beavers, aged 6 to 8 – was so long that leader Julie Double – known in Scouting as Dove – opened a second group for Beavers.
That was soon full too, and the young people loved making new friends, camping and trying new things, including climbing at Cambridge Clip n’ Climb, exploring Duxford Imperial war Museum to earn their Air Activities Badge, and even spending a night sleeping with the fishes at Hunstanton Sea Life Centre.
Lots of the six-year-olds who joined the new Colony are now at the age when they move up to Cubs – which is for those aged eight to ten and a half. Dan Seaman – known to the young people as Akela – has run the Pack for two years and has been joined by new leader Chris Twinn (Rama), who is now in charge of the second Cub Pack, which opened this summer.
“The new Cub Pack has allowed us to open a route into Scouting for a number of Littleport children who weren’t Beavers previously,” Dan explains. “It has been gratifying to see the new Pack get to know each other and form friendships.”
Both Packs have recently enjoyed making bug hotels, earning their athlete activity badge, sailing, and hiking around Ely. “I really liked when we make toys, such as the boats that we floated on water,” says Bethany, aged 9.
Scouts – for those aged between 10 and a half and 14 – has also seen a surge in numbers to 24, and a second Scout Troop will open in the new year. The Troop is lucky to be able to use the Ryston Estate for outdoor meetings and camps in return for some forestry care, including building owl boxes for nesting birds. “I really enjoy the woodland camps – they are awesome!” enthuses Jorja, aged 12 and leader of the Troop’s Puma Patrol.
Scouts from the Ely district also had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Le Mans, France, over the summer which they absolutely loved. Activities included hiking, rafting, and denbuilding and the trip ended with a visit to Disneyland Paris. “It was amazing,” says Bob, aged 13. ‘”I can’t wait to go on another district camp.”
Stuart Cree – known as Skip – has run the Troop for the past two years and is keen to make sure the Scouts get out and about as much as possible. “Scouting is a confidence-building exercise, learning through doing and having fun at the same time. Life has no remote – you have to get up and change it yourself – and that is what the Scouts are doing!”
Mike Philbey – known as Jester – has been the overall leader of the whole group. He believes that getting into the outdoors and learning new skills is what attracts the young people, although he is keen that the Scouts learn the value of community work too. It is important too, for the older Scouts to be involved with the younger members of the Group, and vice versa. In September, the whole group of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts went on a Roald Dahl-themed camp for the weekend, where they learned archery, cooked over a campfire and made their own lava lamps.
Inspired by a love of the outdoors and keen to inspire the younger generation to look beyond a screen for entertainment, the leaders seek to teach new skills, offer the chance to try new activities and, most of all, encourage friendship and fun.
The leadership group is supported by an Executive Committee of parents and leaders, who organised a family day out at Thetford Forest for Scouting members and their families earlier in the year, which consisted of a session of Battlefield Live, games of cricket and rounders, and a big barbecue.
“My children love the opportunities that Scouting gives them: they have fun, meet new people and develop a sense of awareness about their community,” said dad Darius.
New helpers are always welcome – you don’t have to commit to a weekly session – or if you have a hobby or expertise in an activity or knowledge of a historic period or social issue that you would be willing to come and talk about with the young people, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Dan on email@example.com
Contact Stuart on firstname.lastname@example.org